The apology-refuser-in-chief is President Trump. He repeatedly claimed the virus would “disappear,” that it would go away “like a miracle,” that April’s warm weather would vanquish it, that testing would be easily expanded beyond its availability in other nations. None of that proved true, but it is inconceivable the president would confess he has been wrong time and again.
Chief pandemic adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has been wrong, too. At 85,000 deaths and counting, we are well beyond the 60,000 deaths model he touted, and his January statement that COVID-19 wouldn’t affect most Americans clearly didn’t pan out. But Fauci has been better than his boss about conceding ignorance and explaining why his forecasts change. “As I have said many times,” he said in an April MSNBC appearance, “when the data starts coming in, the data always trumps the model. In other words, you come back, you re-look at the model” and change your prediction accordingly.
Note, however, that Fauci in that interview isn’t quite apologizing. He’s not saying, “I got it wrong, as I now see;” but rather, “I got new information, so I changed my mind.” That’s good, but we need outright apologies as well. (Dr. Drew, of all people, has set an example here.) This alone will not undo many Americans’ loss of trust in expertise — for some, it will only confirm their belief that the experts were worthless all along. But for others, it would demonstrate a trustworthy commitment to the truth over personal pride and reputation.